Child marriage and teenage pregnancy must end: Nghidinwa

WINDHOEK: The Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Rosalia Nghidinwa has called for an end to child marriage and teenage pregnancy in Africa.

Nghidinwa made the call during the commemoration of the Day of the African Child under the theme ‘A child-friendly, quality, free and compulsory education for all children in Africa’ in the capital on Monday.

She said early marriage is one of the most harmful practices as it usually denies girls education opportunities, leads to poverty and economic insecurity, and has a serious negative impact on girls’ health and decision-making capacities.

Nghidinwa added that early marriage also reinforces gender-based violence (GBV) and other social problems.

She noted that the majority of the “child wives” have never gone to school, or left school before completion of a full course of primary education, making them entirely dependent on their husbands in practical aspects of everyday life.

“This exposes the mother and her children to psychological and other social problems. It is a violation of your human right, compromises your development and in the end, you will end up poorer than you were before that union you find yourself in,” she stated.

The minister urged all Namibian children to refrain from sexual activity and to focus on their future in order to contribute to the development of the country.

On 16 June every year, the African Union (AU) and its partners mark the Day of the African Child in commemoration of the 1976 protests by school children in Soweto, South Africa. The students protested against an education system that was designed to further the purposes of the apartheid South African government.